Villa Adriana Dreams


The project tackles the theme of the relationship between natural morphologies of the earth, tracks and settlement systems: the “grounding” of architecture is taken as a principle that identifies the specificity and identity of a place. It is assumed that the landscape is linked to the architectonic forms of settlement and, as such, can be described, itself, as an architectural fact, an expression of “principles of form” able to preserve the intelligibility of the compositional processes and tectonics of architecture. The geographical features of the place determine “urban landscapes” and “settlement forms” in morphological continuity with the topographical features of the territories: architecture inside the ground or, in any case, rooted in it.

The project identifies the plots that determine the axes and lyings on which to graft the new architectural and landscape elements for Villa Adriana. Through a new territorial structure, places are put in tension and connected with axes found in the soil of the territory itself. We use the paradigm of the road as a “groove to configure the clod” and “wall as substructure” to determine areas and spaces of rest, stay and work. The “water” road has a landscape and connection value through bridges, embankments, riverside walks and cycle paths. The “narrative road” connects the Maritime Theater with the new structure of the Domus Agricola and descends to the river reaching, with the new bridge, the quarries, once again fascinating water landscape. The “present” road, the Meremmana, assumes the role of a semi-hypogean tunnel, giving rise, on a regular basis, to a part of the receptive services and on the other to the river park and its specialized structures. Starting from the “new propylaea” through the construction of the “narrating road”, the plot of the Horti Hadriani, gardens with multiple plant varieties, exemplary place for the variety of naturalistic features of the Mediterranean known to Adriano.


What prompted the project?

The project was born in response to the Piranesi Prix de Rome university competition, in collaboration with POLIBA, UNIBAS and UNIFE. As designers and architects we set ourselves towards history and the site with the idea of experimenting through visions that were also linked to the collective imagination that each of us has towards these places.

What questions does the project raise and which does it answer?

The project is linked to a territorial context considered as a palimpsest, a complex and large architecture with an open composition and great historical stratification. The compositional actions try to bind to the connective logic for distinct elements and legible forms that are concatenated in a large area.

How would you define the contemporary relationship between ground and architecture? How has this morphed in the last 100 years?

The entire area from Tivoli to Villa Adriana has always had an architecture closely linked to the ground, its forms, its life and compared to it has changed its functions. The modern and above all contemporary era has lost the logic of the past, the modern movement in particular had stopped relating to its attack on the ground through massiveness. Contemporary architecture has taken up the spatial logic of the soil, the mass and the excavation, highlighting the potential of the projects that work with the earth, masking their impact and linking with the shapes of the existing landscape.

How and to what extent do the series of drawings explore this tension between territory, architecture and human presence?

We used drawing as a means of enhancing this tension, the points of view, the horizon line, the figure and the background created on this limit between man, architecture and the ground. This causes this limit to acquire a thickness that varies in each representation, almost as if it were an architecture in which man is forced to look at the territory interacting with it.

What informed the different views and images through which the project is explored?

Every view and every image works on the observer and the relationship with the horizon. An almost narrative question in which every place, every room, every street of the project is part of a single great continuous vision, a film montage where architecture controls the point of view and the sequences of spaces.

What is for you the architects most important tool?

Knowledge reads space and controls its form, it is building an idea, an image, a vision that includes man’s concrete experience.


We are an interdisciplinary research and design group that arises between architecture, landscape and design, interpreting their mutual relationships, in order to initiate processes of urban and territorial re-meaning, both reversible and stable, in the complex relationship between tradition and innovation.
The team is made up of young architects and researchers, René SOLETI, Valentina SPATARO, Marco VENEZIANI belonging to the Faculty of Architecture of Bari, who investigate the Mediterranean landscape and its construction history. This group was born from the desire to deepen the study, disseminate knowledge and improve the use of architectural and landscape systems by recognizing the quality of the landscapes and the typological peculiarities of the respective architectures.